GForces and Autofutura have completed their merger and announced the creation of a new firm – the Automotive Transformation Group.
The new entity aims to revolutionise the new and used car sales process, and open up the potential for billions of pounds of sales and efficiencies in the e-commerce sector.
The Automotive Transformation Group says it’ll connect car makers, financiers, dealers and consumers in the ‘most efficient way possible’, thanks to integrating the data, products, services and technology brought together through the merger.
The company said a key component of this will be connecting finance data across all platforms, unlocking ‘the barriers to offering a complete “omnichannel” customer experience – blending physical showrooms and the virtual world – from first sale, through aftersales and re-sale’.
Despite the new partnership, GForces and Autofutura brands will manage their own customers separately, the firm said.
The company is headed up by current Autofutura executives David Riemenschneider, who becomes chairman, Christian Erlandson, CEO, and Sinead Kanlioglu is named as chief programme officer.
Meanwhile GForces’ current CEO, Giles Smith, takes up the role of chief product officer, Tim Smith becomes chief revenue officer, and Mitch Titley and Simon Upton remain as chief financial officer and chief operating officer respectively.
Commenting on the launch of the Automotive Transformation Group, chairman David Riemenschneider said: ‘The digitalisation of the sales process is advancing at an unrelenting pace.
‘The automotive market, which is one of the largest in the world, has lagged other sectors in terms of the speed of transition to online sales, but that is changing rapidly.
‘Until now, the cost and complexity of integrating each element of an online and offline experience into a brand consistent omnichannel one, has prevented it being delivered at scale.
‘The Automotive Transformation Group aims to change that. By joining up the dots we will enable car manufacturers, financiers and retailers to unlock the huge potential and efficiencies in today’s sales process and overall value chain. And now is the time to act.’
CEO Christian Erlandson and chief revenue officer Tim Smith joined Car Dealer Live to explain more behind the merger.
In a wide-ranging interview – which you can watch at the top of this story – the pair also spoke about the current new and used car markets, and the potential that’s on offer for increased growth and profits.
Speaking on the programme, CEO Christian Erlandson: ‘Autofutura, like GForces, has been around for over 20 years. For the first 15 years it was focused on proving residual values to the fleet industry, and then it saw the opportunity from the retention side of things.
‘We saw the opportunity of brining the two companies together – the benefits are enormous when you’re looking at the customer’s online journey and the data side of Autofutura.
‘We’ve been spending most of our time working with financiers and how do they hold onto their customers – it should be a lot easier to hold onto a customer than find a new one.
‘Together, through this merger, we are looking at the lifecycle of the customer. It’s not just about finding a customer’s retention from the moment of purchase, but it’s taking them through the lifecycle for the next time.
‘We know that customers’ purchasing activities will be changing – after the purchase of a the car they will be buying new services, sometimes purchasing them in the car itself, for instance.’
Smith said: ‘It’s all about efficiency. There is a lot of expenditure in the sector – on advertising and marketing to find new customers.
‘That’s great, but if you can be really efficient about keeping hold of your, customers, if you can market them at the right time with the right offer, you can actually be very efficient in terms of the amount of money that you save.’
He added: ‘There is massive benefit in joining the companies together.’
Click the video at the top of the story to watch the full interview
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